2 Corinthians 1

2 Corinthians 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:

(a) Paul. The author of the second epistle to the Corinthians was the Apostle Paul. Paul had visited Corinth for a period of eighteen months and planted a church during that time (Acts 18:1). After he left Corinth, he remained in close contact by sending the church several letters. The letter we know as Second Corinthians may have been the fourth letter sent by Paul. His first letter, known as the lost letter, is mentioned in 1 Cor. 5:9. His second letter we know as First Corinthians and a third letter, known as the severe letter, is alluded to in 2 Cor. 7:8. It’s possible that the severe letter comprises the final four chapters of Second Corinthians.

Paul wrote Second Corinthians while he was in Macedonia (2 Cor. 8:1). This letter was written probably not more than a year after First Corinthians, in about A.D. 56.

(b) An apostle; see entry for 1 Cor. 1:1.

(c) Timothy Paul’s spiritual son and co-worker, was well-known to the Corinthians. Timothy had been involved in establishing the Corinthian church (Acts 18:5) and had been by Paul sent to Corinth to do some teaching (1 Cor. 4:17). Evidently Timothy was with Paul when he wrote this letter, hence the greeting.

(d) The church. The original word (ekklēsia) means an assembly of people. In the New Testament, it normally refers to a church, but not always (e.g., Acts 19:32).

(e) All the saints. Throughout the New Testament, the Christians are consistently referred to as saints (See entry for Acts 26:18). Sanctified in Christ, Christians are a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5). You are not a forgiven sinner but a saint.

(f) Achaia was the region of Greece situated to the west of Corinth on the Peloponnese peninsula.

2 Corinthians 1:2

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace to you and peace. The apostle of grace begins all of his letters with this gracious salutation. See entry for Rom. 1:7.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

(a) The Father of mercies is the God of all grace (1 Pet. 5:10). God comforts us and abounds in compassion on account of his great love for us (Eph. 2:4).

(b) God of all comfort. Trials and troubles are a fact of life (John 16:33) and Paul experienced more than his share (2 Cor. 1:9, 7:5). The God of all comfort never promises to remove our troubles but to comfort us in our afflictions. One way he does this is by revealing more of Jesus to us. “Our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Cor. 1:5).

(c) In all our affliction. God comforts us and gives us relief in our afflictions, and he does this by revealing more of Jesus to us. “Our comfort abounds through Christ” (see next verse).

(d) Comforted by God. In your trials and hardships, there may be some who, like Job’s siblings, say your troubles are from the Lord (Job 42:11). This is a hopeless and comfortless message. Your Father doesn’t afflict you with suffering; he comforts you. He promises to be with you when you walk through the fire and the water (Is. 43:1-2). He does not send you into the valley of the shadow, but he goes with you so that you will not face your trials alone.

Further reading: “Does the Lord bring trouble?

2 Corinthians 1:5

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Your troubles may be big, but Jesus is bigger. When you see him in your boat in the storm or high above your circumstances, you will have relief in your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:9

indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;

When you are facing death, you do not need a revelation of Baby Jesus or Jesus the Good Teacher. You need to see the Risen Lord and put your trust in God who raises the dead. Resurrection isn’t merely metaphorical. Just as Jesus was raised, we will be raised.

2 Corinthians 1:12

For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

(a) Our proud confidence. Confidence comes from knowing that “God is greater than our heart and knows all things” (1 John 3:20).

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21). You can choose to live under condemnation or confidence. The way to be free from a condemning conscience is to assure your heart that God justifies you, he is for you, and he loves you no matter what. Our heavenly Father knows every dumb thing you’ve done and every dumb thing you’re going to do, and knowing all this he still loves you and calls you “Beloved” (1 John 2:7). There is nothing you can do to make the Father love you any more, and nothing you can do to make him love you any less. Knowing this fills you with confidence (1 John 3:21) and helps to silence the inner critic.

(b) The testimony of our conscience. The conscience makes judgments based on knowledge, and the best source of knowledge is the Spirit of Truth. When you live in submission to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, your conscience will be perfect and good. See entry for Conscience.

2 Corinthians 1:17

Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?

(a) According to the flesh. In other words, do I make plans in a selfish manner?

(b) Yes, yes and no, no. Do I flip-flop? Do I say one thing but do another like an unprincipled person?

2 Corinthians 1:18

But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no.

Our word to you is not yes and no. We say what we mean. We are not fickle.

2 Corinthians 1:19

For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.

(a) Preached. The original word (kerusso) means to herald as a public crier. This is one of three words that are commonly translated as “preach” or “preaching” in the New Testament. See entry for Acts 5:42.

(b) Silvanus was the Romanized name of Silas, Paul’s colleague and friend. See entry for 1 Thess. 1:1.

2 Corinthians 1:20

For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

In Him. When you believed the good news about Jesus, you were sealed in him (Eph. 1:13). All the blessings of heaven are found in him (Eph. 1:3), and in him we have redemption, forgiveness, and righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21, Eph. 1:7). All the promises of God are yes in him (2 Cor. 1:20), and in him you have been made complete (Col. 2:10). In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). See entry for Union.

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